DETROIT (FOX 2) - As the number of measles cases continues to rise in southeastern Michigan and across the United States, a Henry Ford Infectious Disease doctor says she's very concerned about this very contagious disease.
"I'm very concerned that people are not immunizing their children. A lot of this is due to fears which are not scientifucally founded," says Dr. Allison Weinmann.
She explains in 2000 the measles was pretty much elimated from the United States because of the effective vaccine, but recently pockets of the populations have opted out of immunizing and the doctor says it's a bad choice.
"Many people are worried uncessarily about the safety of this vaccine. There's a lot of data this vaccine has been used in millions of people; it's much safer and is considered safer than getting the measles. So everything in medicine is a risk-benefit ratio, and the risk of getting measles and the harm that measles can cause is far outweighed by the safety of the vaccine," Dr. Weinmann says.
Measles is a respirtaory virus that leads to fever, runny nose, cough, and sometimes rash, but it can get much worse.
"You can get brain infection, overwhelming viral infection, can cause pnemonia, it can cause multi-organ system failure and you can get a superimposed bacterial infection," Dr. Weinmann says.
The virus can survive in the air for seveal hours, so anyone includig babies who are not fully immuzined should try to avoid known exposure locations, which are listed online. And remember your immuizatoin doesn't just protect you.
"There are a subset who can't get immunized because it's a live, weakened vaccine and so people with impaired immune systems, HIV, transplant patients can't get vaccinated and they rely on the rest of us, for so-called herd immunity, where the rest of us are immunized and they protect them. And so when the population rate goes down of immunizations then the most vulnerable in our population are exposed.
If you're older and wondering if your vaccine is still effective- you can get a blood test to look for the antibodies in your system, and then get a booster shot if needed.